The forerunner of Canute Road was The Beach, a fashionable promenade built in 1769 at the height of the spa period on the foundations of the old causeway which followed the shoreline from God's House Tower to Cross House Hard. It was probably one of the more popular walks in the town; it was planted with elms and commanded panoramic views of Southampton Water. A map of 1844 still has this road named as The Beach. It seems to have been renamed Canute Road in c.1850; the first mention of Canute Road in Street Directories is in 1851.
The nature of this area changed with the coming of the docks in the 1840s. The Beach had few, if any, buildings, but soon warehouses, shops and offices were built along its length. Some interesting buildings have survived from the Victorian period, including no.3 Canute Road, a mid-19th century office/retail Grade II listed building (image below). For other interesting buildings on Canute Road see list below.
- Canute Chambers
- Canute Castle Hotel
- Dart House, Canute Road
- Ferry House, Canute Road
- Marsh Hotel, Canute Road
- Union Castle House
- Wilts and Dorset Bank
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